Major implications from our analysis of 20 yrs of global warming perceptions
Here are the major implications from our study analyzing twenty years of American public opinion data on global warming:
1. Global warming skeptics continue to make an impact on public opinion.
As we describe in the article, although a strong majority of Americans say that they believe that global warming is real, that temperatures are rising, and that the release of carbon dioxide is a cause, the public remains relatively uncertain about whether the majority of scientists agree on the matter. As long as the public remains confused about where the experts stand, public support for policy action is likely to be weak and volatile.
Moreover, the article does not include break downs across polls by partisanship, but as Gallup and Pew polls from 2007 show, there still remains a "two Americas" of climate change perceptions. Over the past year, Democrats have become almost universally concerned and worried whereas a majority of Republicans remain skeptical of the science and the urgency of the issue.
It's a result of two different sets of political leaders offering contrasting interpretations that are then relayed via an ever more ideologically fragmented media system.
2. As long as global warming is a relatively low priority for the public, it will be a relatively low priority for policymakers and the news media.
In the aggregate, Americans might say that they are concerned about global warming, but compared to many other policy problems, the issue still remains among the bottom tier of priorities. Even in comparison to other environmental issues, global warming sits at the lower end of worries. As long as global warming continues to lag as a relative concern for Americans, few policymakers will feel an incentive to spend political capital in support of meaningful policy action. Moreover, the issue itself will remain a second tier news agenda item.
3. Global warming remains very much a public communication problem.
Scientists, environmental groups, and some Democratic leaders have been very good at mobilizing a certain baseline level of urgency, but if the rest of the public is going to be activated, new media platforms, opinion leaders, and frames will have to be employed. For more, see the recent articles published at Science and at the Washington Post
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Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
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